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Packers Will Battle Heat Against Jaguars

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Packers Will Battle Heat Against Jaguars

The Green Bay Packers drew a trip to Jacksonville Florida to take on the Jaguars in week one.  The average temperature at that time is around 87 degrees and given that the game takes place in the early part of the month, we may also want to consider the average temperature in August, which is a balmy 91.  It could be overcast and rainy on that particular day but assuming that it's not, the Packers are going to have to prepare to play in heat that they don't often deal with.

A bit ironic as the Packers play their home games in one of the coldest venues in the league, come December and January.  Their opponents are usually the ones having to condition themselves and prepare to battle both the elements as well defend Aaron Rodgers and one of the better teams out there.  With the shoe on the other foot this time, the Packers likely began preparing the lead-up to the Jacksonville game as soon as the schedule came out.

It's common sense that the players need to stay hydrated and keep their core temperature stable during the game.  The training staff will be all over that.  But the prep leading up to the game is the real key.  Back in 2014, the Packers were in Tampa Bay on a warm day in December when Rodgers suffered his famous calf injury that he dealt with through the remainder of the season.  Rodgers was reportedly not feeling well that day, which was likely a contributor to his dehydration and subsequent muscle injury.  In that case, any advanced prep still may not have prevented the injury, but it does remind the Packers that they need to due all of their due diligence with regards to preparing their roster for this environment.  To see a key player suffer a heat-related injury that they are then dealing with throughout the season would be less than ideal.

With such a variety of body types on a typical NFL roster, the staff has their work cut out for them to determine the best way to prepare players between 200 - 250 pounds and those closer to and over 300 pounds.  Trainers need to determine how much water a player typically loses during a game, which can be up to nine pounds in some heavier players.  Ideally, they don't want a player to lose more than 3% of their body weight during a game.  At that rate, a 300-pound player would lose just over a gallon of fluid during the game.  Stats on pre game and post game weight are kept on each player each week, regardless of weather, so they should have a good idea of how to keep everyone properly hydrated.   

The hydration process isn't just a game day proposition.  It begins a few days prior to the game between fluid consumption as well as any necessary dietary changes.  Players typically consume more fruit and vegetables, which tend to provide around 20% of our daily water intake.  Most teams have a nutritionist on staff who put together the team's menus during the season.  They painstakingly plan out when players should eat certain foods and in what quantities.  Often the training staff stand at the buffet lines and direct specific players to certain foods, somewhat like a food babysitter.  Insert Eddie Lacy joke here, but keeping many of these players in line and breaking some of their bad food habits is not an easy job.  Many of them come into the NFL with their eating habits and palates for the food they grew up on, which may or may  not be the best option for an athlete trying to perform at the highest level for three straight hours.  In the case of extreme weather, teams can't take any chances on a player suffering heat stroke or other health effects from dehydration.

Despite having some of the best minds, resources and technology, there is no guarantee that the players won't still deal with issues during that afternoon.  The Packers still have to hope that they can get out of Jacksonville with a relatively healthy team.  Not only do they have a tough road game at Minnesota in week two that will probably test them, but there are at least another 16 weeks to navigate.  That there is more time for a player to recover and be healthy for the latter part of the season would be a bonus, but hopefully that doesn't even become a need.

 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (26) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

I'll be on the 50 yard line with my wife in that game staring right into the sun behind the Packer bench. I live in south GA, so while it'll be hot, it's not any different to me than mowing the lawn for 4 hours instead of 2.

But for people used to northern Wisky? Yikes. It'll be a tough game. I expect to win, but it's certainly not ideal going into the Vikings game the next week. And of course they have a cupcake.

I hate the NFL sometimes.

dobber's picture

Having lived in middle GA for a lengthy time, I concur: unless you live in that heat 24 hours/day, 7 days/wk in the summer, it's hard to prepare for it. I think they might keep an extra DL for that first week or two just to keep from burning the bigs out.

Sure, the Vikes get Tennessee to open the season, but it will likely be hot there, too, and there are plenty of week 1 surprises in this league...

Nick Perry's picture

When I saw the schedule this game made me nervous right away. To have to play in that heat in week one isn't a easy task, especially against a team who's been getting ready for it for the previous 2 months.

PFF rated the Jags Receivers Group as the 4th best group this season. They have 2 WR who went over 1000 yards and some depth behind both of the "Allen Brothers" Hurns and Robinson. Bortles threw for almost 4500 yards and 35 TD's last season, they have a pretty good TE in Julius Thomas and 2 RB's, Ivory and Yeldon.

That's an excellent point about the Packers having to play the Jags in that heat and the Queens get the Titans in Tennessee. It DOES seem the NFL screws the Packers every year with the scheduling. Start with 2 games on the road, early bye week sandwiched around 4 home games in a row and then 4 of the next 5 on the road.

jasonperone's picture

Obviously they're always aware of hydration and diet but the rules do change a few days prior, and that was my point there.

jasonperone's picture

I think you're being way too literal. The rules change throughout the week because they just do. That's straight from someone working for one of the teams (not Green Bay). I'm gonna defer to them here if that's ok with you, unless you're a doctor or a trainer with intimate knowledge of how NFL teams prepare for games?

jasonperone's picture

I didn't share specifics to respect their privacy and because it's not vital to the piece. It's pretty common sense, teams can't just drone through their regular hydration prep when they're playing in an irregular setting. The temperature may be close to the same in Green Bay during training camp just prior to be Jax game but it's not Green Bay. It's Florida. Apples and oranges.

jasonperone's picture

Ok, Stroh, thanks for the diatribe...and you nicely edited the comment before. There are no go backs in this game ;)

Nick Perry's picture

I'm not pretending to know a thing about Proper Hydration for Professional Athletes but I'm quite certain it would be quite a bit more than just 10 degrees warmer. The "On Field Temps" I imagine could be closer to say 110 degrees if not higher depending on the day.

You also have to consider in a 60 day span Wisconsin might have 90 degree temps with 90% humidity maybe 5 times during July and August. In Florida I'd bet it's closer to 60 for 60 during that same time span. That's a huge disparity.

You live in Arizona don't you? 100 degrees in Arizona isn't like 100 degrees in Florida or Wisconsin.

Handsback's picture

There will always be something to watch for when NFL teams visit other venues. Noise in Seattle, cold in Chicago/Green Bay, heat in FL teams, altitude in Denver, bars in New Orleans, etc. The teams that travel well usually focus on their jobs and prepare for the environment. I want to say MM does a pretty good job of focusing the team, but I don't have any statistics to bear that out. My concern isn't the heat as much as that young and talented Jags defense. I think it will be a close game for awhile until Rodgers takes it over in the 4th qtr.

Bearmeat's picture

Did you mean young and talented Jags offense? Because it's really the Jags passing game that makes that whole operation go.

They've got some talent on D on paper. But it's unproven. Saying that Fowler and Jack are going to be Peppers and Ray Lewis is like saying that Kenny Clark is the next Haloti Ngata. Maybe. Probably not.

dobber's picture

I agree: those young players on defense for Jax will take some time to adjust to the speed of the game and to play in the system. This week 1 game might be a track meet, unless the Packers D forces some TOs early.

Handsback's picture

A young defense that's fast and talented is going to cause disruptions and will want to play their best game possible. So yes, i'm talking about their defense.

Cheesejam's picture

Exactly what I was thinking. This game will really prove if we are an upper echelon team or a wild card/middle of the road squad. Their offense is for real and their defense could be troublesome. Turnovers very well might decide this game. If we're coughing up the ball we can very well lose. Bortles is turnover prone and I can see a fourth quarter INT deciding this game.

DrealynWilliams's picture

1 game will determine that? Hm. Interesting.

Tarynfor12's picture

Oh boy, sounds like the excuse list is beginning to take shape.
We lost in Jac due to heat.
We lost in Minn due to new stadium
......
......
......
Etc, etc, etc
I prefer the one that is more legit....played bad, simply got beat.
: )

Zachary Jacobson's picture

Or... Maybe, just maybe, Jason's just diving into what it takes to, I don't know, prepare for a game with drastic heat temperatures? I don't see any excuses. "Simply got beat" is tough to say when, believe it or not, weather plays a factor.

Tarynfor12's picture

Weather is a factor....like the sudden rain storm, a fog rolling in, a snow storm. These weather conditions hamper play and are more acceptable to reasons for a loss. Knowing the temperature will be high, low without the arrival of the expected/unexpected condition, rain, snow, simply implies unprepared and that should never been allowed/ used as excuse. Preparation is number one key especially when the conditions of weather are near absolute.

ray nichkee's picture

Taryn, you make it sound like you have a legitamite pair of testicles and the entire packers roster doesn't minus a certain linebacker.

Tarynfor12's picture

Ah, the insult avenue.
I just refuse to accept the heat excuse which resembles that of neutered, corner cowering males. Sorry if I invaded your corner with my thinking which was posted without slur. : )

marpag1's picture

You're trying way too hard. No excuses were made. Get over it.

Tarynfor12's picture

I'm not trying to do anything...the premise of the article about the heat in Jac in a sense is offering an excuse for a loss if it comes. The actual play is secondary as to why. : )

marpag1's picture

No, it isn't offering an excuse... not "in a sense" or in any other way, shape or form. It's saying that it will probably be hot and the Packers will need to be ready for that. Whatever "excuse" you are seeing is a figment of your active imagination.

What... it's not permissible to talk about weather, otherwise you are making an excuse? Sorry, but that's stupid. If the forecast at Lambeau is for -10F and someone says, "You better dress warm," is that an excuse for something??

jasonperone's picture

Ok then let me be clear: that is NOT in any way shape or form my point nor an idea that I support at all. That's a huge reach to pull that out from in between the lines. You missed the dart board completely on that one. It happens

Lphill's picture

So I think it's pretty hot during training camp and the players are used to that since playing pee wee football so I don't think it's that big of a deal , I was schocked at how hot it was in Green Bay once for a Sunday night game in September , I was not expecting that at all .

PaulRosik's picture

it is game 1. If a team is ever ready for sweat and hot it is right after summer practices. I'd be more worried about a freak 90 degree day in December than a hot day in September right after breaking camp.

Curry Rambeau's picture

I suppose one could say that the Bears were much better prepared than the Packers for that chilly downpour at Lambeau last Fall when Favre's #4 was enshrined. Then again the Bears are used to playing on a crappy field in Chicago.

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